Opening up spatial data to boost creativity

Winnie Tang In the information and technology industry, there is a saying: 80% of data is geographic. For example the photos taken by our smart phones and posted on social network are marked with locations. When a country is building its smart city, the success or failure is highly correlated with the management and usage of spatial data. In short, the availability of geospatial data becomes a critical factor for success.

I am glad to learn from a recent media report that shows the OGCIO and Lands Department plan to launch an inter-departmental Geographic Information Platform at the end of this year. It plans to provide location data of a wide range of facilities such as clinics, cultural and recreational venues, electric vehicle recharge terminals, etc.

From data to apps

Public users can download the required information and develop applications through the application programming interface (API). This can be considered as Hong Kong government’s continual support to the development of smart city.

This year's Policy Address also mentioned that the Development Bureau is promoting the establishment of Common Spatial Data Infrastructure (CSDI), including the appointment of a consultant to conduct a study for formulating development strategy and roadmap.

CSDI is a more professional, comprehensive, large-scale digital infrastructure which is also an important foundation for a smart city. It can support various apps and services.

According to the Development Bureau’s description, the CSDI allows government departments, public and private organizations to consolidate and exchange various data, such as road networks, plots, land use, underground pipelines, urban planning requirements, real-time traffic conditions, and local weather condition. The platform aims to facilitate not only the government departments and public organizations, but also citizens, to develop broader functional apps based on spatial data.

Promoting app development is one of the main objectives of delivering geospatial data. Their success will help to bring together creative ideas, improve the efficiency of city operation and enhance the quality of decision making. However, it requires proper strategy guidance.